Viewing entries tagged
customer engagement

Micrognosis: A Pre-agile, Agile Story

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Micrognosis: A Pre-agile, Agile Story

I want to share a story from a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

It’s been on my mind quite a bit of late, as I tell it in some of my agile classes. However, I’m unsure whether the students believe me or they glean the significance of the story. I usually share it to illustrate a key point around software requirements. I usually get LOTS of pushback in my classes surrounding the “goodness and need” for fully documented requirements in software projects.

And as I unfold the agile approach to requirements (user story based, conversational, acceptance-driven, intentionally incomplete, and did I say collaborative?) the class starts turning ashen-faced in disbelief. Particularly attendees who are Business Analysts, Project Managers, and Testers struggle with the essence of agile requirements.

So that being said, I thought I’d try telling it here by writing it down.

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The Agile Project Manager—Engaging Your Customer!

The agile methods come at software development by challenging many of our status quo practices. The first one is the engagement level of the ‘customer’.

It’s my experience that most waterfall or traditional projects allow the customer to disengage after they start the project and provide an initial version of the requirements. After some time…later…they appear at the end of the project to receive their prize. Usually they’re disappointed in the end result—finding the functionality not living up to their original vision & expectations.

This sort of “end-points” behavior leads to many project failures due to a lack of clear communications, misunderstanding, and missed expectations.

The Agile Project Manager—Driving Value or Where’s the Beef?

The Agile Project Manager—Driving Value or Where’s the Beef?

There was a wonderful commercial I remember from years ago where a matronly woman named Clara Peller judged hamburgers by the amount of beef she found in them. Quite often, when she was disappointed in her quest, she would shout “Where’s the Beef?” in frustration. Wendy’s was the chain who came up with the advertising idea and to this day the line has become a catch-phrase for value delivery and customer expectations.

I guess Clara was onto something though. In my experience, business’ often miss the beef when they’re trying to deliver value to their customers—particularly in the software product arena. I don’t know why that is exactly. Sometimes I think the developers are too abstracted from their customers. They can rarely touch or observe them. Or understand their true challenges. So they’re guessing when it comes to needs—sort of throwing the software “over the wall” for feedback.